At five years, God has blessed SBTC

You are reading the convention issue of the TEXAN. Some of you have joined us in Corpus and others of you are tending the farm back home. I wish you could all be here. God is doing a marvelous work in Texas through the Southern Baptists of Texas Convention. We are enjoying the five-year anniversary of our existence.

It does not seem like it has been five years since 120 congregations were represented by the constituting messenger body. Stan Coffey was elected our first president, we adopted a $900,000 operating budget, and I had the privilege to be called to serve as Executive Director. In 60 short months, phenomenal numerical and financial growth has occurred. With those as measurements, it is evident that the Kingdom of God has expanded. Praise His holy name!

The SBTC has sought to be positive, missionary, visionary and faithful to the churches. What does the future hold for us? Only God knows, but let me make a forecast from my heart.

I believe one of the most significant ministries we will launch in the second five years is a fulfillment of the Hispanic Initiative. Rudy Hernandez, the second president of SBTC, provided invaluable direction in this effort. We will be adding a person to our ministry staff to lead this important facet of our work. Millions of precious souls in Texas need to hear about Jesus. A full-orbed approach will be implemented to reach all people groups, especially our Hispanic friends.

Perhaps flying under radar for right now is our 2020 Vision Team. George Harris, our outgoing president, shared my burden for this project. SBTC is committed to “next generation” leadership development. By 2020, I will be off the scene. Someone else will be in my place of service. It could be someone who is 23 years of age today. Unless the next generation in our churches is brought into Kingdom work through the SBTC we will lose the most valuable earthly resource we have. We have wonderful young leaders being involved in convention life already. Over the next few years, we will be passing the torch to even more of these fine men and women.

Of course, we will keep doing the things that the churches have mandated as priorities?church planting and evangelism. Budgetary emphasis will continue on these two areas of ministry. New partners will come alongside SBTC, giving more institutional choices to churches. Yet, we will refrain from building a large bureaucracy. More churches in Texas will decide to be a part of a state convention that has doctrinal fidelity and a supportive relationship with the Southern Baptist Convention.

Whether you are at Corpus or at home, I know you are excited about the future. Jesus is coming. Life is short. Let us remain faithful, Galatians 6:9.

Your servant in Christ,

Jim Richards

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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